Monthly Archives: April 2015

Steppin’ Out – Fernando’s Costa Del Sol Restaurant

latin-cuisine-fernandos-costa-del-sol-restaurant-cameron-park-ca-headerQuite a number of years ago I visited this restaurant which, at the time, was located at the corner of highways 49 and 193, on the north side of Placerville (the last location for the famous Taco House).

I was introduced to Fernando Sierra, the owner and chef, who was from El Salvador and was not only serving Mexican dishes, but unique Salvadorian dishes from his homeland.

That time, and on an occasion several months later, I was delighted in trying pupusas, with Salvadorian cabbage, Salvadorian tamales wrapped in banana leaves, yucca root and fried plantains.

Around 2006, Fernando moved his restaurant from there to the southwest corner of Green Valley Road and Cameron Park Drive (2650 Cameron Park Drive #170), where it has thrived ever since while building quite a following.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Russ Salazar and I decided to drop in since Russ had never been there. We were delightfully seated by Fernando’s lovely daughter, Kristina, who handed us each a copy of their multi-page menu as she went to get us a complementary bowl of chips and some salsa (excellent salsa, by the way).

I wanted Russ to try the papusas, which are like thick corn tortillas filled with cheese or a paste-like chicken and cheese or pork and cheese mixture, so we picked one of both the chicken and pork varieties to split. In addition to those, since we were fascinated with the nine kinds of soup on the menu, we ordered a “small” (we’ll discuss that later) bowl of Sopa de Chorizo (Salvadorian style sausage soup) and Sopa de Tortilla (shredded chicken with vegetables, fresh avocado, tortilla strips and shredded cheese).

The pupusas arrived first, so we cut them in half to share, stuffing each of them with the slightly fermented Salvadorian cabbage. They were delicious, and as we were finishing them, our “small’ bowls of soup arrived.

Iam going to guess that the soup bowls were at least 10 inches across and contained enough soup for a filling meal by itself. They came with our choice of flour, corn or handmade corn tortillas. We selected the handmade corn tortillas which Russ said were very similar to the thick Mexican tortilla he called a “gordita.”

We had empty small bowls that had contained the cabbage, so we shared samples of the soups and they were both great.

My tortilla soup must have contained at least a cup or more of shredded chicken, along with lots of vegetables, which were delicious and not overcooked. When I got close to the bottom of the bowl, I looked around and, not seeing anyone watching, tipped the bowl and drank the remaining liquid.

Russ’ chorizo soup contained a large amount of chorizo sausage, egg, vegetables and more. It was different, but both of us liked it. He couldn’t finish it all or maybe just had better manners than me.

Steppin’ Out – Milano Pizza, Cameron Park

180sA couple of weeks ago I came across a picture of a wonderful combination pizza from a small pizzeria in Cameron Park called Milano Pizza. It was called the Milan combo and was a combination of ham, salami, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, bell peppers, red onions, ground beef, Italian sausage and linguica (that’s six meats and a lot of good veggies).

I immediately contacted my friend and accomplice, Russ Salazar and said, “We really have to try this.”

Milano Pizza is easy to find as it is located in the small shopping center at 3958 Cambridge Road, just north of the freeway. So, one Thursday around noon we drove there.
Most of their business is take-out, but they do have three inside tables that seat four or so people each.

We sat down at an unoccupied table and started going over their menu. There are any number of pizzas available (even create your own), along with a list of appetizers, calzones, spaghetti and lasagna, sandwiches, salads and even cannolis for dessert.

After our normal mumbling conference, we decided on a small (10 inch) Milan Combo on a thin crust and something they called Milano Oven Baked Crispers, which is a 10 inch crispy dough with homemade white creamy garlic ranch sauce topped with mozzarella, provolone and Parmesan cheese. We also opted for a two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi, since they don’t have fountain soda (actually a better deal).

While waiting for our food, I talked with the gentleman behind the counter (he said his name was Mo) about the place. He told me that this store had been open about two years, but that the Milano Pizza at 3900 60th Street in Sacramento had been open for 20 years.

First to arrive was the Milano Oven Baked Crispers, which actually looked like a nice cheese pizza. Russ looked at it and said, “That looks like a New York street pizza, which they call a ‘pie,’ not a pizza,” while picking up a piece.

“The crust could be a bit crisper and make a noise when you eat it,” he told me after trying it. “However, I really like the flavor.”

He thought they had added a bit of olive oil to it, which they can do, but after talking to the owner (Fred) a few days later, I think it was actually the ranch dressing that added the smoothness he enjoyed.

I tried a piece of the “crispers” and had to agree with him. Sometimes simpler is better.

While we were enjoying our “first course,” our pizza arrived. It looked delicious and was nicely assembled and presented.

Although it tasted very, very good, the crust was a bit too moist and had very little crunch, except for the part around the edge. I believe that was a result of their being so many high moisture and fat toppings. Russ thought the oven was also not hot enough when it was baked.

I discussed this too with the owner. He said they have a new oven, which might be an issue. However, I did tell him that we really liked it and left none of it on the plate.

In addition to the menu items I already mentioned, they have a number of pizza specials, lunch specials and more. For more information on that, check out their webpage at www.cameronparkmilanopizza.com/ or give them a call at (530) 676-1616.

Milano Pizza in Cameron Park is open daily from 11 until 9.

Milano Pizza is now accepting online orders for takeout through BeyondMenu.com. Enjoy the best, freshest pizza, sandwiches and salads, and remember: there is no waiting in line when you order online.